Summer weather is both a gift and a curse. You love to see it when the weekend comes around, but you resent it when you're stuck inside working all through the week. It can be amazingly demotivating trying to work when it's sunny outside. Your brain starts to wander, you feel jealous of everyone outside, and you get less work done. How can you stay motivated at work during the summer months?
This is a problem many of you are facing at this time of year. The sun's out, but you're forced to plug away and spend hours indoors. Thankfully, there are ways to keep yourself focused and motivated even when the weather is at its most beautiful. Here are some ideas to try.
This is a simple idea, though one that is often overlooked. If you work from home—which many people do right now—then you can take your work outside. Go into your garden or out onto your balcony and set up an outdoor working space.
You want to be as comfortable as possible, ideally with a table and chair. If you lie down on a mat and try to work, you might fall into the trap of feeling like you're sunbathing and lose your motivation! So, try and keep yourself sitting upright and at a table, just to maintain a professional aura.
When you're working outside, be sure you spend most of your time in the shade wearing sunscreen. This protects you from the sun as you could be outside for many hours without any rest. If you're not convinced you need sunscreen, read a sunscreen FAQ to remind you why it's so important.
If you can't work outside, then try moving your desk next to a window. Keep the window open so you can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
The beauty of working outside or next to a big open window is that it alleviates some of the summer FOMO. You may be working, but you still get to enjoy the nice weather and the shining sun. It's far easier to remain motivated when you don't feel like you're missing out.
If you can't or don't want to work outside, the next best thing is to take breaks outside. This is something people in all professions can do. Whether you work in an office, a retail shop, or you're working remotely, you're granted a couple of breaks per shift. Spend these breaks outside enjoying the sun!
The beauty of this is twofold. Firstly, you can actually relax and soak up the sun on your break. You don't have to worry about work, and you could even meet up with some friends for lunch outside. This self-care keeps you motivated and improves your mood. Again, the idea is to not make yourself miss out on all the fun!
It might seem counter-intuitive, but taking breaks actually helps with time management. It provides structure and a schedule that you have to keep to. Plus, what's the easiest way to make time go faster? By keeping yourself busy! You enter into peak productivity by feeling like the hours are quickly flying by.
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Set personal targets
If the promise of a nice outdoor break isn't enough to motivate you, try this: set personal targets to accomplish in a specific period. Let's say you're writing a report—you can set yourself the target of getting 1,000 words done by lunch. Then, as a reward, you take a longer lunch break out in the sun.
I find it works really well for people who work from home or don't have strict schedules. You could add targets when you're working a shift, but the idea is that you only allow yourself a break when you reach the goal. With shift work, you're given a break no matter what. It can still help you stay more motivated, but it isn't essential.
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Obviously, make the goals realistic but not too easy. You want to give yourself the challenge to ensure that you keep working really hard. Also, don't cheat and go out in the sun even if you haven't reached your target!
Stay off social media
Quite frankly, this is a tip that helps you stay motivated all year round! Social media is a massive distraction when you work. How many minutes do you waste per hour checking your phone to look at Twitter or Instagram? Even five minutes an hour equates to a good 40 minutes of wasted time in a typical working day. That's 200 minutes a week—and I'm being generous with this example!
Things are worse when it's gorgeous outside as you see everyone posting about their fun in the sun. Friends are sunbathing at the beach, and it's an endless barrage of people having fun. As a result, your motivation tanks as you mindlessly scroll through social media wishing you were anywhere but at work.
The only solution is to cut down your social media usage. Realistically, the only way to do this is by removing your phone from your working area. Toss it behind you if you're working from home, or hide it in the desk drawer in the office. When you can't see your phone, you're less tempted to pick it up and scroll through social media. Thus, you don't see everyone's posts about the great weather, so you have nothing sapping your motivation.
Close the blinds/curtains
Finally, this idea is completely the opposite of everything else you've seen. For some of you, the above tips will help you remain motivated when it's sunny outside. You get to enjoy the sun while you work or on a break and be free from any social media posts. However, this may not help some of you. Instead, you need to completely shut yourself away from the good weather. Stay off social media, but also close the blinds/curtains and work with a light on.
The idea is that you can't be demotivated by the weather if you can't see it. Again, this won't work for everyone, but it's worth considering if you're too distracted by the outdoors. Essentially, you want to keep yourself in your own little bubble where work is the sole focus.
Realistically, it's all about finding what works best for you. There are plenty of ideas to try, some of which work better in different work environments than others. It is super hard to stay motivated when the weather is amazing, but you just have to plug through to the weekend! Hopefully, these ideas ensure you do this without letting your work suffer.